Before we reveal the winners of this week’s According to You: The Natural Sunscreen Edition, it’s important to first take a long hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves: What is a natural sunscreen, even?
Judging by the sheer number of responses we received via our Instagram stories, it seems that at least a third of you missed the “natural” call out altogether. Which is totally fine. In the name of peer-reviewed recommendations (aka your #HotTips), we’re all for an enthusiastic yet unrelated DM. Nonetheless, we thought we’d take the liberty of breaking it down.
Natural sunscreen is simply another way to say “mineral sunscreen,” which is yet another way to say “physical sunscreen.” Confused?
Imagine, for a moment, that this Balenciaga belt bag is your skin, and natural sunscreen is a watertight plastic ball. Drop it in water and not a single one of those garish crystal-studded Eiffel Towers gets hurt. God forbid, your glorified $2,500 fanny pack (I mean, skin) gets ruined by a splash of water (which is standing in for UV rays, in case you weren’t following this already overwrought analogy).
So, there you have it. Natural sunscreen: a physical layer between your skin and the sun’s rays. Like a literal physical coating made up of titanium oxide, zinc oxide or both. That’s where the dreaded white cast comes from; and that’s why sunscreens eventually evolved into those of the chemical kind, the popular school bully of the sunscreen world, offering sheer, breathable protection that works by absorbing (instead of blocking) those much-maligned UV rays.
Why am I comparing chemical sunscreen to a school bully? We’re so glad you asked: see an eye-opening breakdown of ingredients to avoid over here. But first, to the important part: the best natural sunscreens – minus the thick, gunky texture and aforementioned white cast – According to You.
“Natura Siberica! Its completely natural and has no bad stuff in it!” – doramahmic
“Coola (the tined face one).” – elizabethgcasey